Becoming and staying focused on the task at hand is one of the most important things you can learn for your business, your career and also for your life in general. Multitasking is a great idea, however it’s nothing more than wishful thinking. You simply cannot do more than one thing well at a time, if you need to get more done in less time let’s have a look at some ways you can stay focused.
Use a Calendar
Everyone has a calendar, most of us on our smartphones and your calendar is your best friend when it comes to staying focused. Use it to make a list of the things you are supposed to do each day, and to set yourself deadlines and check-up points, to help make sure you’re being effective.
If you have a to-do list, it’s important to prioritize what you are doing so that you can do the most important things first. Everyone’s priorities will be different. If you are a small business owner, your first priority each day should be doing the work that you need to do for yourself as your “first” client.
Turn Off Noise
Mobile phones, office phones, your email account and your social media networks are all distractions, turn them off and focus on each of things you’re doing one hundred percent. Don’t focus on the noise around you, emails don’t have to be answered immediately and it’s actually liberating once you learn and accept this. It’s hard to do, but you’ll find that the work your work on will be of a higher quality and they you’ll get more done, faster.
Take a Walk
I used to walk, run all of the time and I must get back to it, exercise is one of the best things you can do prior to getting down to work, as it allows you to sort your inner demons out and to get your focus, harmony sorted as exercise allows you to clear your mind and gives you a tremendous sense of well-being.
Try not to work for more than 90 minutes at a time without a break. Taking frequent breaks where you get away from your work or the project for at least five minutes will do wonders for your ability to focus. Now, don’t use this time to check your email or social media, instead get away from your desk and do something else.
Many people think that multitasking is a virtue, the truth is that it is very inefficient, cause’s undue stress, and you don’t get things done any faster. What you do get however when you are not focused, is lower quality and you can’t get as much done.
Stop Checking Emails
Most people seem to think that an email needs to be read and answered immediately, they will often check their email multiple times per hour and often drop everything to check a new email when it arrives. It doesn’t stop there when they are out, at home or away from their desk they use their smartphone to check their email.
I’d suggest you check your email just two or three times per day, because no matter what business you are in, you don’t need to check more often. Let your clients know the times you check email, and set up an appointment system for clients to schedule phone calls. You might also like to delete that email app from your phone as I did many years back, this really is liberating.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time
Trying to do everything as fast as you can and over-scheduling yourself is a sure-fire way to become unfocused and build stress. Instead, give yourself more time than you think it will take so that you have plenty of down time. Being stressed out and rushing through things is a way to make mistakes.
Learn to give yourself time to do each thing that you need to do by turning off the noise and distractions, and placing your focus on “first things first.” By narrowing your focus, you’ll enjoy your day more and each moment more, because you’ll shut down the noise that happens all around you and get to doing what needs to get done.